PS4 4.50 update delivers ‘Boost mode’ on PS4 Pro, adds external drive support

Recently, Sony began rolling out the beta for the PS4 4.50 software update, and with it comes a bevy of useful user-facing changes. External hard drive support and custom wallpapers are getting a lot of public attention from the PlayStation team, but they didn’t say much about the biggest feature — a new “Boost mode” for the PS4 Pro.

Based on some leaked videos and screenshots from users running the latest beta, the PS4 Pro will enhance the performance of some older releases without the need for an official patch from the developers. Simply toggle on the boost mode, and the games will be able to take advantage of at lease some of the additional horsepower in the Pro.

As is, the PS4 Pro runs non-optimized PS4 titles almost exactly like they would run on a base PS4. The CPU is clocked down, and roughly half of the GPU goes unused. This theoretically means that all PS4 titles should operate without any additional quirks. So logically, allowing these non-optimized games to run without those protections in place in boost mode could potentially lead to some unexpected behavior.

If these complications are relatively minor, we’ll soon be in store for better frame rates for some older releases — much like we see on the Xbox One S. If the beta goes sideways, it’s easy to imagine Sony holding off on the functionality. Still, a PlayStation rep did confirm boost mode to Polygon, so it seems inevitable at this point.

In addition, Sony publicly announced a number of changes slated for the next update. Most importantly, USB 3.0 hard drives up to 8TB can now be used for game storage. Simply plug it in, format the drive, and you’ll be able to keep many, many more games installed at once. The Xbox One has had similar functionality for years now, so we’re happy to see Sony finally catching up on this front.

If you have a PSVR, your expensive headset is about to become slightly more useful. With 4.50 installed, you’ll be able to watch stereoscopic video from 3D Blu-rays inside the helmet. And considering just how dead the 3D TV market is right now, this might be the last bastion for fans of the tech. If you’re a social networking fan, you’ll be able to post text, images, and animated gifs directly into the PlayStation Network activity feed. Prepare for memes, and warm up your “Block this user” button.

On top of all of that, the interface is getting improved as well. You’ll now be able to use custom wallpapers for the main menu, so you’ll no longer be locked to the (mostly awful) themes available on the PlayStation store. And hot off the heels of the beefy 4.0 update, the quick menu and notification list are getting tweaked again. Hopefully, we’ll all be spending less time fiddling around in menus to find what we need.

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